The economic reforms of President Assad helped earn the loyalty of businessmen. Without their support, his government would be in far greater danger of collapse due to Syria protests.
While US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford has been brought back to Washington, Arab leaders and China are still trying to bring the government and the opposition to an agreement.
A recent slew of Syrian incursions into eastern Lebanon have stirred up rivalries between Lebanese who support the Assad regime and those who resent its interference in Lebanese affairs.
Gershon Baskin - Israel's key link to Hamas during negotiations for the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap - speaks on how and why both sides decided to make concessions to reach an agreement.
Hamas scored a victory with the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli solder Gilad Shalit. But its concessions to Israel show fragility.
The killing of Mashaal Tammo, a Kurdish member of the new Syrian National Council who called for unity across ethnic and religious groups, may help galvanize Syrian activists seeking to topple President Assad.
Russia and China vetoed a UN resolution against Syria, evoking a strong response from the US and others. Arab protesters at least now know which countries are on their side.
Syria’s uprising is more than six months old and more than 2,700 people have been killed in the regime’s crackdown – and yet President Bashar al-Assad is still in power. That’s due in part to the fact that Mr. Assad still has several critical bases of support in the country, as well as one very important international ally. Here's a look at what they are:
It's the autumn of discontent, with Egyptian activists worried about a military comeback, Syrian protesters taking up arms, and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US and Europe.